PetsAsTherapy: The Benefits of Pets in Care Homes

The use of animals to improve a person’s well-being is known as pet therapy. It can be employed in a variety of settings by a variety of people because it does not require any special qualities to be effective; merely having the animal around can suffice. According to one study, contact with animals promotes happy hormones, reduces anxiety, and aids in the development of relationships. It can even improve physical health by subtly encouraging movement for elderly patients, such as walking or throwing a ball. The overall positive environment can even benefit the carers, from providing stress relief to assisting in forming meaningful bonds with the residents.


PetsAsTherapy (PAT) is a national charity, that sends volunteers throughout the country to various establishments such as schools and care homes. Their aim is to utilise the benefits of pets to boost the health and well-being of the community.

We reached out to them to gain further insight from those who know this subject best…


The impact of pets on the mental health of care home residents.

“Residents in care homes may suffer from ill health and can sometimes experience loneliness, depression and anxiety-related conditions; this can lead to feeling isolated from family members and having a lack of motivation or sense of purpose. A friendly PAT visit is a chance for residents to chat and reminisce about past experiences or much-loved pets.”


The benefits of using pets in healthcare settings

“Bringing a smile to people’s faces and allowing them to immerse themselves in the moment, no matter what may be going on in their lives, is truly wonderful.” (Paul, PAT Volunteer)

 “Studies have shown that interacting with a PAT Pet can improve a person’s mental health and overall well-being. There’s often an increased connection with carers and family too, and those living with dementia can feel energised and elated. It comes down to a very simple truth: pets just make us feel happier.”


Learning through first-hand experiences

Through the experiences of their volunteers, they found therapy dogs are great for residents who may feel agitated or under stress. Many find a significant uplift in mood and that simply being in the dog’s presence and stroking it had a calming effect. One found having the dog there created a more homely atmosphere in the care home, creating a sense of ease and comfort around the residents.

The impact of therapy dogs on dementia residents is also highlighted. Many find the dogs act as a prompt, sparking memories of their own childhood pets. This leads to further happy memories that they can reminisce about and share with others.



Check out the stories in full below:

Julia Saunders & Chilli, Bean & Ronnie

Martin Rodker & Winnie

Nick Belson & Ghillie


Visit, for further information about the charity, how a dog owner can become a PAT Volunteer, how establishments can request a visit, and how supporters can donate.


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